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M. Ficinski, K. Vanichsarn, Z. Deng, D. Tran, S. Tran, A. Ngo, T. Nguyen, L. Tran, Z. Chen, E. K. Wong, Jr.; Monitoring Corneal Density Changes Using Optical Coherence Tomography in the Animal Model for Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3391.
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To use Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to observe changes in cell density underneath the corneal epithelium of eyes treated with trigeminal denervation. OCT imaging can be used to aid in the study of the effects of Neurotrophic keratopathy and Keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
Trigeminal nerve ablation surgery was performed at the V1-V2 junction using radiofrequency ablation to induce the symptoms associated with Neurotrophic Keratopathy and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca. Denervation of the left trigeminal nerve isolated the intended effects of surgery to the left eye of the rat, while the right eye remained unaffected and served as the control. Imaging using Optical Coherence Tomography was conducted on both eyes one day before surgery, and then 10 days and 17 days after surgery. The OCT images were analyzed using Image J software for changes in gray value pixel intensity underneath the epithelium of the cornea to observe a change in the density of that layer. The changes in average pixel intensity from pre-treatment to 10 days and 17 days post-treatment were compared to observe the changes in cell density underneath the epithelium of the cornea with OCT imaging. Subtraction logic was used to control for confounding variables that may have affected the integrity of the rats’ eyes between the imaging days by subtracting the light intensity of images of the control eye from the treated eye.
Analysis of the OCT images shows a significant increase in pixel gray values of the images underneath the corneal epithelium 10 days after surgery, 0.890 (89.0%) and 17 days after surgery, 2.073 (207.3%) for the treated eye (p=0.036). Prior histopathologic data of the conjunctiva and the cornea after trigeminal denervation showed a decrease in goblet cells in the conjunctiva and the appearance of inflammatory cells beneath the corneal epithelium.
The results from the OCT images suggest significant changes in the cell density underneath the corneal epithelium after treatment. These changes imply degeneration of cells similar to the consequence of neurotrophic keratopathy and keratoconjunctivitis sicca. OCT imaging analysis serves as a noninvasive technique in further studying neurotrophic keratopathy and keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
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